British International Investment

COVID-19 Emerging and Frontier Market MSME Support Fund

BotswanaBurkina FasoGhanaIndiaKenyaNigeriaSri LankaTanzaniaZambiaAsiaEast AfricaSouth AsiaSouthern AfricaWest AfricaFinancial services

The fund has been launched by BlueOrchard Finance Ltd, an impact investing manager and member of the Schroders Group, to support MSMEs by lending to microfinance financial institutions across Africa and South Asia facing strained liquidity due to the impact of COVID-19.

This investment was made when British International Investment was named CDC Group.

Our investment

Description of the investment.

CDC plays an anchor investor role in the fund, joining other public and private investors in the launch of the fund, including Schroders, DFC (U.S. International Development Finance Corporation), and JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), who jointly supported its launch with around $140 million. The fund has a target size of $350 million.

Impact information

Applies to investments made from 2019 onwards. The tabs in this section define what we expect to achieve through the investment, assessing the potential impact of the investment against six dimensions of impact. You can find more details on our methodology of assessing impact here.

What?

Impact
  • Sustain and increase economic opportunities by providing access to financial services for entrepreneurs (SDG 8.3, 8.10).
  • Enhance resilience to economic shocks; maintain and increase access to microfinance for lower-income and vulnerable populations (SDG 1.4, 1.5).

How?

How?

Direct: The fund will extend US dollar and local currency debt to financial institutions with loan books allocated significantly to MSMEs and low-income individuals. This financing will enable the financial institutions to maintain and extend greater credit to their customers namely entrepreneurs of micro-businesses (70 per cent of pipeline), enabling them to better manage cashflow and maintain or grow their business. Only a relatively small proportion will be likely used for personal purposes (21 per cent of current pipeline), mortgage/housing (2 per cent of current pipeline), allowing borrowers to save or invest, smooth consumption and manage risk better.

Who?

Stakeholder Geography Characteristics
Customers

Pan-Africa and South Asia. The AfrAsia sub-fund has a 40 per cent cap on exposure to India and a minimum of the lower of 15 per cent of the global fund or $30 million will be invested in Africa. CDC has committed to senior shares in the AfrAsia sub-fund which can only invest in CDC geographies.

The majority of the lending will go to underbanked entrepreneurs and low-income borrowers in both the formal and informal economy. Based on current pipeline, 70-80 per cent of borrowers are expected to be women and 60-70 per cent located in rural areas (this facility will qualify for the 2x Challenge). The range has been provided to account for variations in pipeline.

How much?

Scale Depth/Duration

The fund is expected to provide up to 1.17 million new loans by 2027 with CDC’s investment contributing to 116,667 new loans. The overall client base of the financial institutions in the global fund is 10.5 million borrowers.

  • Duration: Impact is expected to last for up to 7 years, i.e. the duration of our investment.
  • Depth: Difficult to assess but expected to be deep given the characteristics of the borrower and the current COVID-19 context. Impact is expected to be deeper in an environment with rising unemployment and falling incomes.

Contribution/additionality

Contribution/additionality
  • Financial additionality: We will play an anchor investor role in the fund by committing up to $30 million of first close capital and enabling the fund to reach its minimum viable fund size.
  • Value additionality: (i) Increasing credit to sub-Saharan Africa by ensuring greater funding to the region than the original proposal; (ii) supporting qualification for 2X Challenge; (iii) supporting improvements in Blue Orchard’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) capacities which include increasing capacity to monitor ESG compliance and upgrading systems to meet international best practice

Grid score

Grid Score

To help us direct our investments, we previously used a tool called the Development Impact Grid. It scored investments out of four, based on two factors: the difficulty of investing in a country and the propensity of the sector to generate employment. This tool was used for investments until the end of 2021. Since 2022 it has been replaced by the Impact Score.

This investment is made under an approved Catalyst Strategy, and therefore does not require a grid score.

Market context: Commercial lending to this segment is not available in sufficient quantity or on the same terms in the COVID-19 context.

Risk

External Risk
  • Client protection considerations are heightened in the COVID-19 context, particularly as end borrowers are low-income/vulnerable populations. Mitigation: Client protection is assessed every two years through the ESG scorecard and financial institutions must demonstrate good practices. As part of the Environmental and Social Action Plan, 20 per cent of the portfolio will be visited annually to assess SMART campaign endorsement and operationalization of the principles (or an appropriate substitute standard).
Evidence Risk
  • Visibility on the impact on underlying borrowers depends on the financial institution’s capacity to provide data on underlying borrowers. Mitigation: Blue Orchard’s half-yearly monitoring reporting can give us some understanding of the depth of impact through type/size of loans and segments reached. Opportunities to further assess this dimension will be further explored through deep-dive assessments.
Alignment Risk
  • Relates to the risk that financial institutions will use credit for other purposes. Mitigation: (i) Risks around use of proceeds are mitigated by provisions in the loan agreements; (ii) risks relating to capital not being used to grow the portfolio will be closely monitored through a monitoring template; (iii) risk of financial institution serving other, less risky segments is mitigated by Blue Orchard’s selection process which focuses on financial institutions with significantly MSME-focused portfolios.

Environmental and social information

  • Environmental and social summary

    A high-level description of the environmental and social aspects of the investment. This may include a summary of key environmental and social risks identified during environmental and social due diligence (ESDD); key elements of an environmental and social action plan (ESAP); or ways in which we plan to support the investee improve environmental and social standards, such as through their environmental and social management system (ESMS); as well as any other priority areas agreed with the investee.

  • Environmental and social risk

    A risk category rating, which indicates the level of environmental and social risk associated with an investment. For an explanation of the categorisations used, see here. We consistently provide an environmental and social risk category for all investments screened from 2023 onwards.

Environmental and social summary

We agreed an ESAP focused on ensuring the application of environmental and social risk management aspects across our exposed investments (at both financial institution and end-borrower levels). We are also working with Blue Orchard to improve their Gender-based Violence and Harassment policy and processes.

Reporting and Complaints Mechanism

The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism allows anyone outside BII to report alleged breaches of the business integrity or environmental and social provisions of BII’s Policy on Responsible Investing. This includes breaches made by BII, a BII investee, or a portfolio company of a fund in which BII has invested. The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism Rules are available here. Reports and complaints can be submitted by email to [email protected] or by mail. See more details on our Reporting and Complaints Mechanism here.

For any other general enquiries contact us at [email protected]

  • Key facts

    Last updated

    When the last quarterly update of the website database occurred.

    :
    March 2024
    Project number

    An identifier number shared by investments in the same project.

    :
    D4613
    Status

    The current status of the investment (green flag for active and red flag for exited).

    :
    Active
    Region

    The geographical region where the country is located. We currently invest in Africa, South Asia, South East Asia and the Caribbean. In 2023, BII’s investment mandate was extended allowing it to invest in regional funds linked to Ukraine, with the majority of activity expected to begin post-war. Investments outside these regions were made prior to 2012 under previous investment mandates.

    :
    Asia, East Africa, South Asia, Southern Africa, West Africa
    Sector

    We prioritise those sectors that facilitate development and need our capital the most. Our priority sectors contribute towards many of the Sustainable Development Goals. They range from investing in the power infrastructure that will provide people with better access to electricity, to investing in financial institutions that direct capital to the individuals and businesses that need it the most.

    :
    Financial services

    We provide capital in the following ways: directly – through direct equity, direct debt, guarantees and other non-intermediated financial instruments; and indirectly – principally through investment funds.

    For direct investments and fund investments, this is the date BII committed capital to the investments. This is typically the date on which legal agreements are signed by all parties.

    For the portfolio companies of our fund investments, this is the date (either the month or the quarter) on which the fund committed capital to the portfolio company.

    For direct equity investments, this is the date at which British International Investment exited the investment.

    For debt investments, this is the date at which the final debt repayment was made.

    For funds, this is the date at which the fund was terminated.

    For underlying fund investments, this is the date at which the fund manager exited the investment.

    The total amount committed, per financial instrument, per investment, on the date BII becomes subject to a binding legal obligation to provide funding or assume a contingent liability. This information is provided in US dollars.

    For direct investments, this is the amount that BII has committed to the business or project. For fund investments, this is the amount BII has committed to the fund.

    The currency in which the investment was made.

    Investment type :
    Fund
    Start date :
    November 2020
    Amount :
    $30m
    Currency of investment :
    USD
    Fund Manager:
    Blue Orchard Finance SA
    Domicile

    The company or investment fund’s place of incorporation.

    :
    Luxembourg
    2X Gender Finance

    Indicates whether the investment is ‘2X qualified’ using the 2X Challenge criteria. You can find out more here. It only applies to investments made from 2018 onwards, when the 2X Challenge was first launched.

    :
    Fully qualified

Related investments made by BII into this fund:

Investment name Commitment Region Sector Start date Status
Investment 02 $5m Asia, East Africa, South Asia, Southern Africa, West Africa Financial services July 2021 Active

Investments made by this fund into companies:

For further information about these companies, visit https://www.blueorchard.com/

Investment name Country Region Sector Start date Status
Annapurna Finance Private Limited India South Asia Financial services January 2021 Active
ASA (Kenya) Limited Kenya East Africa Financial services December 2021 Active
ASA Microfinance (Tanzania) Ltd Tanzania East Africa Financial services March 2021 Active
Aviom India Housing Finance India South Asia Financial services May 2021 Active
Aye Finance Pvt Ltd India South Asia Financial services September 2022 Active
Bayport Ghana Ghana West Africa Financial services June 2023 Active
Bayport Tanzania Tanzania East Africa Financial services July 2021 Active
BRAC Tanzania Tanzania East Africa Financial services May 2022 Active
Family Bank Kenya East Africa Financial services December 2021 Active
Fidelis Finance Burkina Faso West Africa Financial services January 2021 Active
Izwe Zambia Zambia Southern Africa Financial services June 2023 Active
Juhudi Kilimo Kenya East Africa Financial services March 2021 Active
Kinara Capital India South Asia Financial services March 2021 Active
Letshego Botswana Botswana Southern Africa Financial services December 2020 Active
Letshego Kenya Limited Kenya East Africa Financial services May 2021 Active
NeoGrowth Credit Pvt Ltd India South Asia Financial services June 2023 Active
Pan Asia Bank Sri Lanka South Asia Financial services July 2021 Active
Samunnati Financial Intermediation India South Asia Financial services March 2022 Active
Satya MicroCapital Limited India South Asia Financial services June 2021 Active
Sterling Bank Plc Nigeria West Africa Financial services March 2022 Active
Sumac Microfinance Bank Kenya East Africa Financial services June 2021 Active
Vaya Finserv Private Limited India South Asia Financial services July 2021 Active

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